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Easy traditional coq au vin recipe

Easy traditional coq au vin recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Poultry
  • Chicken
  • Chicken stews and casseroles
  • Coq au vin

In a traditional coq au vin, the liver and blood of the rooster would be incorporated into the sauce at the end of cooking to make it richer and more flavourful. Here, I replace blood and liver with tomato passata for a beautiful, tasty sauce, that is easy to make! I also use chicken thighs instead of a rooster, it is easier to find and more tender.

32 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 bone-in chicken legs
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 40ml Cognac or brandy
  • 500ml full-bodied red wine
  • 200ml water
  • 150ml passata
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 small handful chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 200g bacon, chopped
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:1hr50min ›Ready in:2hr10min

  1. Heat the olive oil in a casserole and brown the chicken for 5 to 10 minutes on medium-high heat. Add the onion, shallot, carrots and garlic, and sprinkle with flour and cornflour. Mix well, then pour over the Cognac. Set alight over high heat, rotating the pan in all directions.
  2. Once the flames diminish, add the red wine, water, passata, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 1 hour.
  3. While chicken is cooking, fry the bacon in a hot pan until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Drain and place on kitchen paper. Add to the chicken after 1 hour of cooking, along with the mushrooms. Simmer another 30 minutes, uncovered. Adjust seasoning and remove bay leaf before serving.


For a lighter dish, remove the chicken skin before browning. Serve with potatoes or white rice. Feel free to prepare your coq au vin the day before, it's even better reheated!


Easy traditional coq au vin

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(9)

Reviews in English (2)

Absolutely delicious, tried it with and without Cognac, with and without bacon and both times it was easy and an absolute delight. Top marks. I shall be using this recipe in future.-09 Mar 2016

I made it without firing up an alcohol, just added the vine as it makes the recipe more complicated and not sure it has much to do with the taste. Because I can't imagine how could this possibly be any better.-06 Nov 2015

Easy Peasy Coq au Vin

A couple of months ago I embarked on the Sirtfood Diet. To be honest, though, it didn’t feel much like a diet as most of the meals were so delicious. One of the most delicious meals on the diet was Coq au Vin (oh yes did I mention this is a diet where red wine was positively encouraged – my kind of diet! Though in moderation obviously!!). Coq au Vin is, amazingly, a meal I had never eaten before the Sirtfood Diet (I know, I know – where have I been?), but after making the Sirtfood version I was determined to make it again and it has quickly become a Gargano family favourite.

Though the Sirtfood version was already quite simple, I did fiddle with it to make it even easier, quicker and – IMHO – even tastier! And I am so pleased with the result – it is full of flavour and deliciousness, yet very quick and easy to make. I would be proud to serve this to guests (in fact, I have already!), but it is simple enough to make on a weeknight too. And it’s surprisingly healthy – lots of nutrients from the chicken thighs and vegetables, plus the wine has lots of heart healthy antioxidents going on too. And all the alcohol has been cooked off (yeah, sorry about that), so the kids can enjoy it too. My kids actually really enjoy their purple chicken dinner!

To make this super easy to make (and eat!), I have used chicken thigh fillets – these are chicken thighs without the skin and bones, making them as easy to use as chicken breast fillets, but with so much more flavour. Chicken thighs are much better suited to this kind of cooking, but if you absolutely must, you can make this with chicken breasts too – it will still work!

I have used lardons in this dinner, which work brilliantly – they are small cubes of smoked bacon that, I think taste so much nicer than ordinary bacon – but you can always use chopped up bits of bacon if you don’t have / can’t find any lardons – either way, just make sure you give them a really good cook on a high heat so those little cubes go golden brown and the fat melts out of them.

As for the wine, I have tried a few variations and found something like a Cotes du Rhone or similar works the best. But feel free to experiment – as a good rule of thumb, though – do make sure you use a wine in cooking that you would be happy to drink too. This is NOT the place to chuck in the dregs of some bad bottle of wine you have had lurking around for a week or more! Good wine only, OK? (But probably not your poshest bottle either – you are going to be putting 200ml in the dinner!) And whichever wine you cook with will usually be the best wine match. This is definitely not a white wine meal!

I like to serve this dish with new potatoes, such as these lovely British Gems I was sent recently, and green vegetables – here I went for broccoli and green beans. But this would also be delicious with mashed potato or just some crusty French bread if you want to make this really easy peasy – plus French bread would be really handy to mop up all that lovely red wine gravy!

Easy Coq au Vin

In a 5-to 6-quart Dutch oven, cook the bacon in the oil over medium until browned but not too crispy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a small bowl. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high. Working in batches, cook the chicken until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the onions and mushrooms to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes season. Stir in the tomato paste, thyme and garlic. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken and any juices to the pot. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover and gently simmer, turning the chicken once or twice, until the chicken is cooked through and the onions are tender, about 40 minutes.

In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in 3 tbsp. water. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the cooking liquid to a boil. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened, about 3 minutes season. Return the chicken and bacon to the pot, stirring to coat. Serve in shallow bowls with crusty bread.

Recipe FAQs

I serve this dish with steamed broccoli, roasted carrots and perfect roast potatoes. There are also many French potato dishes, which are perfect for serving with this dish.

Burgundy wine is often suggested for this recipe. However, at the risk of all my French friends shouting at me, I stick to this: only cook with a wine you would normally drink. For me, that's a good Côtes du Rhône wine.

This is one of those dishes where you can prepare all the ingredients in advance and leave in the fridge until you are ready to cook.

Once the chicken in red wine is cooked leave it to cool and refrigerate and then heat in the oven until piping hot. You could also freeze this dish in containers for up to 3 months.

Recipe Summary

  • 4 applewood-smoked bacon slices, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 chicken drumsticks, skinned
  • 4 chicken thighs, skinned
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle red wine
  • 2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
  • 6 ounces frozen pearl onions
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cook bacon in a large, deep skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in pan. Sprinkle chicken with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to drippings in pan cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan.

Add onion and next 5 ingredients (through bay leaves) cook 5 minutes. Add tomato paste cook 1 minute. Stir in wine bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. Return chicken to pan. Add broth bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 35 minutes or until chicken is done, turning after 20 minutes. Remove chicken from pan cover.

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add button mushrooms and pearl onions sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Place chicken cooking liquid over medium-high heat bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half (about 10 minutes). Discard bay leaves. Stir in mushroom mixture. Return chicken to pan simmer 5 minutes or until heated. Sprinkle with parsley and bacon.

Other Coq Au Vin Recipe Ingredients

Pearl Onions - Many times this chicken in red wine sauce also includes pearl onions. These may not be available or maybe you just don't want to fuss with peeling those little pups. I know I don't! So take my word for it, chopped onion works just fine. Also, if you can get them, this is the perfect place to use frozen peeled pearl onions.

Bacon - Some cooks like to include some bacon with this recipe. In France, the bacon would probably be lardons , which are small rectangles (about 1 inch by 1/4 inch slices) of fairly lean bacon. It can be sauteed along with the mushrooms and added later or it can just be cooked along with the onions at the start.

Wine - Depending where you are in France this dish might be made with different sorts of wine, and even sparkling wines and beer are used. Use a young, robust red wine and you will get coq au vin rouge . Use a dry white wine and you will get a coq au vin blanc .

  • Some people are concerned about alcohol content. Contrary to popular myth, the alcohol does not all cook out of the wine in dishes such as this. I have seen it suggested that this can be made with alcohol free wine, but I have not tried.

Brandy - Another ingredient that I did not include was Cognac (sometimes Calvados, an apple brandy is also used). If you want to layer on a little more flavor, pour on 1/4 cup of brandy after the chicken has browned and before adding the wine. You then need to ignite the brandy, being careful not to singe any facial hair!

Coq Au Vin

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Learn how to make traditional Coq Au Vin (chicken in red wine) with this delicious French recipe. It’s surprisingly easy to make, and slow-simmered in the most heavenly, rich, and flavorful red wine sauce.

I feel like I’m having my own little “Julie and Julia” moment with today’s post. ♥

Well, I mean, I didn’t bone a duck…or cook a live lobster…or make Boeuf Bourginon (although that’s next on my list to master). But I did finally learn how to make traditional Coq Au Vin. And guys, I don’t know why I’ve been so intimidated by classic French cooking for so many years. It was totally easy! And totally delicious. And, it was totally inspired by the one and only…

Oui. I’m afraid I have to admit that, up until this summer, I was totally “that millennial” who missed the boat with Julia Child. I’m just young enough that I had never really grown up with her shows, I’d never really read her cookbooks, and I mayyyyy have had images of Meryl Streep (or Dan Aykroyd) come to mind anytime I heard her name. But I knew that she was a cooking legend, and I knew that she loved living in France. So this past summer, I decided to tuck her memoir into my suitcase on my own trip to France. (And then may have made Barclay watch “Julie and Julia” with me on my iPad on the plane ride over, you know, just to get in the spirit.) And then he will be the first to tell you that once I started the book, I absolutely could not put it down.

You guys, how did I never know that Julia was so freaking cool.

And brilliant? And hilarious? And brave? And adventurous? And progressive? And such a kindred spirit with a love for getting to know new people, and new cultures, and new ideas, and new places, and — of course — new foods?! Not to mention, someone who openly shared with others about how much she adored her sweet husband, and worked diligently with him over the years to care for their relationship? And more than anything, someone who truly seemed to just live life to the absolute fullest, exploring and learning and celebrating just about everywhere she went?

Oh my goodness, I was completely captivated and inspired by her. And reading all about her adventures in France while Barclay and I were having our own adventures in France couldn’t have been more perfect. And of course, reading page after page of her mouth-watering adventures in French cooking made me all the more excited to try so many of her favorite French dishes for myself. And one night at dinner on our Viking River Cruise, I finally got an authentic taste of one of Julia’s favorite dishes that I had always wanted to try:

Hanging out with Julia on the deck of our Viking River Cruise ship. :)

For those who’ve never heard of this dish (such as my friends last night who said, “whaaa?” when I mentioned this post today), Coq Au Vin is a traditional French dish that literally means “chicken in wine”.

I’ve known of the dish for years and years, and had remembered it being mentioned in “Julia and Julia”, and then read all about it in Julia Child’s memoir. But for some reason, I had always assumed it probably included some crazy-difficult French cooking techniques that weren’t worth the effort.

As it turns out, classic Coq Au Vin is actually surprisingly easy to make!

And it is unbelievably rich and delicious (and totally worth the effort). ) The only “difficult” part of the recipe might be finding the time to make it, since it took me nearly 2 hours from start to finish. But hey, just find a weekend evening where you have a little extra time, turn on some music, pour some of the leftover wine into a glass, and get ready to enjoy the most amazing slow-simmered chicken in red wine sauce.

One of the starring ingredients in this recipe is, of course, the red wine. Traditionally, Coq Au Vin is made with a lighter French wine, such as a Bordeaux or Côtes du Rhône. But I tested this recipe a few times and loved mine with a bolder Cabernet. So I say just go with whatever wine sounds good to you.

Then, the other key to this recipe (I would say) is getting all of your ingredients prepped in advance. Usually I’m the sort of multi-tasker who loves to chop as I cook, but this recipe goes pretty quickly once everything starts cooking, so I recommend taking the time to get everything ready to go beforehand.

Then just follow all of the steps below — marinating your chicken, frying up some bacon, browning your chicken, sauteeing your veggies, mixing the sauce, and then letting everything slow simmer in the pot for an hour or so until your chicken is fall-off-the-bone-tender.

And then — voila! — this classic dish will be yours to enjoy.

So if you’ve ever been curious about Coq Au Vin, or French cooking in general, I totally recommend giving it a try. Oh, and if you’re looking for a good read this winter, I also wholeheartedly recommend giving Julia’s memoir a read. She’s the best. ♥

Coq Au Vin


  • 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 cups red wine, I prefer Cotes du Rhone from Guigal
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • Bouquet garni of rosemary, bay, parsley and thyme
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • 10 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup rich chicken stock

Optional finish:

  • 1 shallot, micro diced
  • 1 rib celery, micro diced
  • 1 carrot, micro diced
  • Toast, for serving


Wash and dry the chicken pieces. Place the chicken, red wine, garlic and bouquet garni in a large zip top bag or covered non-reactive bowl and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Remove from the fridge, and strain into a large bowl, reserving the wine and solids.

Place the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on both sides.

Add the reserved bouquet garni and garlic from the marinade. Next, add the celery, carrots, onion and shallot. Season with pepper and salt. Pour in the diced tomatoes and the reserved red wine from the marinade.

Bring to a boil, then lower heat to maintain a simmer and let reduce for about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, cover and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.

Remove chicken to a platter. Turn the heat up slightly and cook until the sauce has reduced by half.

You could serve the coq au vin in a more rustic style with the large chunks of vegetables, adding the chicken pieces back into the sauce now to reheat, or you can strain the sauce. If you go with the latter, strain the sauce and pour it back into the pan. Add micro diced shallot, celery and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Place the reserved chicken pieces back in the sauce to reheat. Cook for about 10 minutes, then serve over toast.

What wine to use

You can guess from the name that wine is one of the main ingredients, and of course chicken. I am sure you have heard it before but I will say it again- only use the wine that is good enough to drink.

I have tried this dish with a bottle of homemade wine and it tasted good or so I thought. Good but not memorable enough to make it my &ldquodinner special&rdquo.

It took me a few years before I came back to this recipe but I tried cooking with a decent bottle of wine. That time I saw the magic of Coq Au Vin, the quality that stood the test of time and kept this dish on people&rsquos tables for generations.

Traditionally Burgundy wines are used in this recipe but don&rsquot stress yourself if you can&rsquot source a bottle. My favourite wines to use are Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot.

In the Alsace region of France, this dish is made with Riesling and is called Coq au Vin blanc.

Easy Coq au vin Recipe

Serve this Coq Au Vin with buttered potatoes or buttery egg noodles sprinkled with parsley! It makes a beautiful dish that is so quick to make you can even make it on a weeknight.

This dish perfectly sums up everything I love about the french cuisine. It’s easy to make but feels very opulent and bombastic when you serve it. Let’s cook Coq au vin!

1. Dice the bacon crush garlic and remove the skin – leave it in one piece, peel and quarter the shallots, cut the celery and carrots into chunky pieces.

2. Clean the chicken legs and separate thighs and drumsticks. Cut around the bone close to the foot to allow it to cook faster. Season with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

3. Fry in a large roasting dish until brown on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the vegetables, thyme and bacon to the pan and fry for 5 minutes.

4. Add tomato paste, mix and put the chicken back in. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper again. Transfer to the oven for 40 Minutes.

5. In the meantime, cut the mushrooms and bell pepper into chunky pieces. Fry them in a very hot pan, allow them to get good color and add parsley, salt, and pepper.

6. Once the chicken is ready, serve the chicken with the vegetables from the roasting dish and the frying pan. Serve with buttered potatoes, Easy German Spaetzle, or buttery noodles. A salad would be making a great addition to this dish, too.

My Coq au Vin is easy and quick enough to make on a weeknight but also great for guests!


  1. Faugami

    You have hit the mark. In it something is also to me it seems it is good idea. I agree with you.

  2. Pinabel

    You are wrong. Let's discuss this.

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